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The Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Albanians of Greek Descent (IAOA), a member of the network of foundations under the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation umbrella, in association with the University of Ioannina conferred awards upon 12 Albanian undergraduates, postgraduates, and doctoral candidates of Greek descent. This took place on Thursday, June 23, 2011, at the Peristeras-Douroutsi Monastery Cultural Centre on the university campus. The programme, which began in 2006, seeks to provide both financial and—primarily—moral support to Albanian students of Greek descent, who meet their university obligations with outstanding results.
During his address, University of Ioannina Rector Triantafyllos Albanis, stressed that: “this event honours and recognizes the efforts made by these young University of Ioannina students to excel in the academic fields and to constitute a shining example to all. These are young people who before coming to our university had experienced various privations, yet, through personal effort, succeeded in overcoming the difficulties and now represent a promise for the future”, while adding, “I would like to encourage them to continue to set goals, have ambitions, and realize their dreams with the same enthusiasm, perseverance, and devotion.”
In his short speech, one of the things IAOA Board of Directors President Vaggelis Chronis pointed out was that: “the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation strives to adapt its involvement to the real needs, which arise from the new conditions that develop in society; this is the great wager all public benefit foundations are called upon to win if they want to stay in touch with reality and always be useful.” Referring to the level of this year’s applications, he noted that since it was exceptionally high, the evaluation truly took place between equally qualified candidates, making it necessary to “muster” every detail in order to arrive at the final selection.
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation provides many-faceted support to the Epirus region and to the Albanian communities of Greek descent, continuing a long tradition of being present and involved in the region. The Vocational Training Centre for Albanian students of Greek descent at Pogoniani, Ioannina has spearheaded this effort for almost 20 years. The centre has offered important services to the education as well as the “soft” integration of younger ethnic Greeks in Greek society; it also assists many of them to repatriate, equipped with knowledge and new experiences acquired in Greece. During the two decades of its operation, over 1,100 children stayed at the centre and were educated in the following specializations: Auto Mechanics, Electronics, Auto Body Repairs, Auto Electrics, Plumbing/Heating, Carpentry, Hairdressing, Cooking, and Aluminium Construction.
On June 24, graduation ceremonies were held in Pogoniani for 24 students specializing in Hairdressing and Cooking.
Furthermore, over the past few years, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation has funded through its “Research Projects” programme proposals submitted by University of Ioannina research teams as well as doctoral dissertations examining regional issues. At the same time, the Foundation supports programmes, such as the Greek Language Summer School held by the University of Ioannina for Epirote emigrants and the activities of the Research Foundation on Northern Epirus.
Additionally, in December 2010, under the auspices of the Academy of Athens, the prize established by the Foundation in memory of Angelos Kitsos was awarded to a study of 16th and 17th century religious painting in Western Zagori.
Present at the June 23 awards ceremony at the University of Ioannina were the university officers, representatives of local self-government and of the Albanian Consulate, as well as members of the academic community and of the IAOA Board of Directors.